Black farmers rally for discrimination settlement agreement

MARBURY, AL (WSFA) - Black farmers in Alabama fighting to settle claims of discrimination say they're optimistic an agreement can be reached.  This week, many traveled to Washington to lobby Congress to put the settlement on the fast track.

Willie James Brown has lived and grown produce on a farm just outside Marbury for most of his life.   He says for many years, he and other black farmers were discriminated against by the United States Department of Agriculture.

"Just tell it like it is, if the white man go down there and he want 100,000, he'd get a 100,000," Brown said.  "We go down there, and we just want 12,000, we'd get 6,000."

So he and others have fought for years to get the government to settle those claims.  Brown received a $50,000 settlement payment  but others did not.  Brown joined hundreds of other Black farmers on a trip to Washington to lobby congress to pay the other farmers.

"That makes me feel good, that I did something to help somebody," Brown said.

Brown says it's a race against time for many of the older farmers who were vicitms of discrimination.  They may have get out of the farming business before reaping the benefits of the settlement.

"We can't get the young people, they just don't want to do it," Brown said.  "I'm 78 years old, I'm tired and I know I won't live forever and there won't be too many years, before I get out of it."  

Until then Brown says he will continue to fight to make sure every farmer who was discriminated against gets what they deserve.

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